May 25, 2012
School Board Approves FY 2013 Budget
Facing fiscal challenges in county funding and state mandates to the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), the Fairfax County School Board passed a $2.4 billion budget for the 2012-13 school year (FY 2013) at its meeting on May 24.
The budget contains an increase of $47.1 million for employee salary increases and retirement contribution adjustments, as well as $48 million in expenditures to accommodate an additional estimated 4,000 students and address educational impacts from student demographic changes, and more than $80 million to cover increasing rates for employee benefits such as health care, retirement, and life insurance.
The School Board also approved the expenditures of:
- $7.5 million for extended learning time for students.
- $2.5 million to add to the staffing reserve to reduce large class sizes.
- $2.0 million for benefits for parent liaisons and multilingual interpreters.
- $0.9 million to expand the elementary World Languages program.
- $0.6 million to add School Board staff.
- $0.5 million to support the high school band program.
- $0.1 million to expand the College Success Program.
The Board also voted to eliminate athletic fees resulting in a revenue reduction of $1.7 million, allocate $0.1 million to fund a freshly prepared food kitchen renovation pilot, and increase funding in the VRS reserve by $1.5 million.
School divisions across the Commonwealth have had to wrestle with the new Virginia Retirement System (VRS) change that mandates beginning July 1, 2012, new employees must fully pay the 5 percent employee contribution to the Virginia Retirement System. For existing employees, Virginia school systems and localities may either shift the full 5 percent employee contribution to employees beginning July 1, 2012, or may phase in the mandated shift over five years. To offset the impact to employees, the state is requiring that FCPS and all other school divisions increase salaries to cover the implemented increase in employees’ contributions.
The School Board voted to phase in the shift with a 2 percent employee contribution the first year so that employees who participate in VRS will see a 2 percent increase in salary to cover the cost of their contribution. In addition, employees who participate in the Educational Employees’ Supplementary Retirement System of Fairfax County (ERFC) will see a decrease of 1 percentage point in their contributions that will now be picked up by FCPS. The ERFC shift maintains funding for ERFC at the same combined level of employee and employer contributions, and does not reduce employees’ ERFC retirement benefits. In addition, the Board approved a 1.25 percent market scale adjustment for employees that will also result in an increase for all employees.
In summary, the increase in gross salaries is 3.25 percent. For most employees (participating in the Virginia Retirement System and ERFC), this will be reduced by a 1 percent increase in employee contributions to retirement (a 2 percent increase in VRS combined with a 1 percent decrease to ERFC).
For those employees who participate in FCERS (mostly bus drivers, custodians, trades personnel, food service workers, and part-time employees), salaries will increase 3.25 percent with no change in retirement contributions.
For details on county and state final funding amounts, please read the May 11 edition of The Bottom Line. The FY 2013 Approved Budget book will be published and available on the FCPS website in August. Budget development information and previous years’ budget documents are available online at the FCPS budget news page.